By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Grand Island Memorial Library will provide its biggest prize ever in a raffle drawing designed to encourage and reward children for reading during the summer.
One boy and one girl will win a bike, with one raffle ticket "purchased" for every five books checked out of the library.
Staff at the library stole the idea for the raffle after seeing it used successfully at other libraries in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system.
"We borrowed. We're libraries. We borrow, right?" said Grand Island Memorial Library Director Lynn Konovitz.
The raffle is designed to encourage reading by children during the summer months, Konovitz said.
"That's the name of the game," he said, noting the library does many other children's reading programs, but nothing with this kind of prize.
"This has probably been our biggest reward. We've had minor rewards before, but to win a bike is a major reward in my eyes, and I know if I was a child with the opportunity to win a bike by just reading books, I'd be probably at the library every day checking out books."
The more a child reads, the more entry tickets are awarded and the greater the chance of winning when the drawing takes place at the end of the end-of-summer reading celebration.
The contest starts July 1 and children can visit the library to see prizes on display now.
"We have many programs over the summer," Children's Librarian Anne Slater said. "Come in the library, check out books and find out what's going on."
The library is especially busy in the summer. Though it is closed Saturdays in the summer, the library does more business in five summer days than in the six weekdays open during the school year, Konovitz pointed out.
"And our circulation is always higher in July and August because of all the children's programs," Konovitz said.